The Sandiganbayan has convicted a former Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) official and 12 others for graft charges arising from irregularities in a multibillion- peso government supply contracts in connection with Cebu province’s hosting of the 2007 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.
The anti-graft court’s seventh division, in a 174-page decision issued on Dec. 2, sent DPWH ex-regional director Robert Lala, assistant regional director Marlina Alvizo, maintenance division chief Pureza Fernandez, and bids and awards committee technical working group members Agustinito Hermoso, Luis Galang, Cresencio Bagolor, Ayaon Manggis, Marilyn Ojeda and Teresa Bernido to up to 10 years imprisonment.
Also found guilty were former Lapu-Lapu City mayor Arturo Radaza, city engineer Julito Cuizon, assistant city engineer Rogelio Veloso and Isabelo Braza of Fabmik Construction and Equipment Supply Co. Inc.
Records showed that Fabmik obtained the contract for the P83.95-million project to supply and install street lighting facilities in Lapu-Lapu City.
The 677 lampposts, unlighted and mostly vandalized, were removed in 2012 as Cebu City deemed them as eyesores and symbols of corruption.
The Ombudsman suspected that the project was overpriced and issued a cease and desist order, directing the Department of Budget and Management and the DPWH to withhold release of the funds.
In 2008, the Ombudsman-Visayas concurred that the lampposts and other lighting facilities were highly overpriced after comparing the cost indicated in the Program of Works and Estimates with those in the commercial invoices of the Bureau of Customs.
“The prosecution was able to establish the presence of collusion among the accused in making it appear that the preparation for the procurement and the award of the P83.93-million contract to Fabmik was regular, proper, and legal through a bogus negotiated
procurement done with manifest partiality in favor of Braza and evident bad faith to the detriment of the public.” the court said.
“All of the acts of herein public officials and employees were calculated and performed for the purpose of making it appear that Braza won the bidding fair and square,” it added.
In September 2020, the anti-graft court’s Sixth Division found Lala, Fernandez, Hermoso and Gerardo Surla of Gampik Construction & Development Inc. guilty but cleared the others.
The four were each sentenced to imprisonment of six years and one month to up to eight years, with perpetual disqualification from public office.